Biogen will change its CEO and largely abandon advertising and marketing of its controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm lower than a 12 months after the remedy’s launch triggered a backlash from specialists, medical doctors and insurers.
CEO Michel Vounatsos will proceed to steer Biogen till a successor is discovered, the corporate mentioned Tuesday. Vounatsos has been CEO since 2016 and was the chief architect of the corporate’s technique constructed round Aduhelm.
For now, Biogen introduced it’s “considerably eliminating” spending on Aduhelm as a part of a $1 billion greenback cost-saving plan designed to refocus the corporate’s flagging pharmaceutical enterprise.
The announcement represents a stark acknowledgement that the Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm has didn’t discover a place for a drug that was anticipated to drive its enterprise for years to come back.
Aduhelm was the primary new Alzheimer’s drug introduction. Initially priced at $56,000 a 12 months, it was anticipated to shortly turn into a blockbuster drug that may generate billions for Biogen.
However medical doctors have been hesitant to prescribe it, given weak proof that the drug slows the development of Alzheimer’s. Insurers have blocked or restricted protection over the drug’s excessive price ticket and unsure profit. Even the corporate’s determination to— to $28,000 a 12 months — did little to enhance uptake.
Final month the federal authorities’s Medicare well being plan imposed strict protection limitations on who can get the drug, which introduced in $2.8 million in gross sales within the first quarter, which simply ended. The overwhelming majority of U.S. Alzheimer’s sufferers are sufficiently old to qualify for Medicare, which covers greater than 60 million individuals, together with these 65 and older, and disabled individuals below 65.
Biogen mentioned Tuesday that it booked about $275 million in costs from Aduhelm stock write-offs within the quarter, and it might primarily shutdown the industrial infrastructure supporting the drug.
Drag on earnings
Aduhelm bills dragged down the corporate’s quarterly outcomes and Biogen fell wanting Wall Road projections, reporting adjusted web revenue of $535 million, or $3.62 per share. Analysts forecast earnings of $4.34 per share, in line with FactSet.
Biogen executives mentioned the restrictive Medicare determination primarilyThe corporate mentioned it might proceed operating a federally-mandated confirmatory trial designed to determine if the drug actually slows Alzheimer’s.
Final month the corporate introduced it was pulling its advertising and marketing software for the drug in Europe.
Biogen’s quarterly income fell 6%, partly resulting from decrease gross sales of the corporate’s a number of sclerosis medicine within the U.S. resulting from cheaper, generic competitors. The corporate additionally reported decrease gross sales of its specialty drug Spinraza, which is used to deal with a uncommon spinal dysfunction.
For the 12 months, Biogen reaffirmed earnings steering of between $14.25 and $16.00 per share.
Biogen fell 0.1% in early morning buying and selling.